Isolated System Definition in Science

If this box were an isolated system, light would be unable to enter or exit.
If this box were an isolated system, light would be unable to enter or exit. PM Images / Getty Images

An isolated system is a thermodynamic system that cannot exchange either energy or matter outside the boundaries of the system. There are two ways in which this may occur:

  1. The system may be so distant from another system that it cannot interact with them.
  2. The system may be enclosed such that neither energy nor mass may enter or exit.

Isolated System Versus Closed System

An isolated system differs from a closed system by the transfer of energy. Closed systems are only closed to matter, energy can be exchanged across the system's boundaries.

Source

  • Landsberg, P.T. (1978). Thermodynamics and Statistical Mechanics. Oxford University Press. Oxford UK. ISBN 0-19-851142-6.